Donald Trump’s practice of nominating people to run agencies they oppose (Rick Perry), have no discernible expertise in (Perry again), or have no understanding of what they actually do (ditto) finally seems to have hit a brick wall.
The Senate Banking Committee rejected the White House’s nomination of former New Jersey Congressman Scott Garrett to chair the Export-Import Bank, which helps U.S. companies finance sales of products to foreign buyers. The bank has been used by aviation, space and satellite companies such as Boeing and SpaceX.
Garrett had opposed the bank and voted against its re-authorization before losing his bid for re-election last year. He told the committee he has had a change of heart, but to no avail. Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) joined the committee’s 11 Democratic members to vote down the nomination on Tuesday.
Trump had at first opposed the bank and then changed his mind. One Democratic committee member questioned whether Trump had shown any real commitment to the bank by nominating Garrett to chair it.
The committee did easily approve the other four nominees for the five-member board: Kimberly A. Reed of West Virginia as first vice president; Spencer Bachus III of Alabama; Judith DelZoppo Pryor of Ohio; and Claudia Slacik of New York. The nominations now go to the full Senate for approval.
If all four nominations are approved, the board will have the quorum it needs to approve large deals for the first time since 2015. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), a staunch opponent of the bank, blocked hearings on Obama Administration nominees to fill vacant seats on the board.
Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO David F. Melcher praised the banking committee’s actions in a statement.
“The Aerospace Industries Association welcomes the Senate Banking Committee approvals of the nominations of Ms. Reed, Mr. Bachus, Ms. Pryor and Ms. Slacik to the Board of Directors of the U.S. Export-Import Bank,” Melcher said. “We urge the full Senate to quickly confirm the four nominees so they can restore the Bank to full-functionality and review and approve over $30 billion in American exports that are stalled absent a quorum on the Bank’s Board of Directors. The time for action is now.
“AIA also commends members of the committee for their bipartisan rejection of Scott Garrett’s nomination, a recognition of AIA long-stated position’s that Mr. Garrett is not the leader that the Ex-Im Bank needs and that American manufacturers deserved,” he added. “AIA is pleased to be recognized by Senate Banking Committee leadership during the hearing for its leadership and advocacy on behalf of the American workforce to only confirm leaders worthy of the Bank’s important mission.”